Tad DeHaven

The media’s harboring of a pro-government spending bias isn’t exactly news. But an article in Politico is notable because it illustrates the tendency for local newsrooms to push human interest stories that emphasize the pain of spending cuts.

According to the article, it’s pervasive: 

Journalists from Florida to Washington state told POLITICO that their editors are hungry for stories that turn bureaucratic doublespeak about automatic cuts into a human story of real-world pain—from layoffs to cutbacks in treasured hometown programs. 

Ask Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida, who got hit with a question about the Blue Angels during a Jacksonville TV station segment of locals upset that the famed flying aerobatic team may be grounded and 30 air shows canceled if sequester takes effect. The Democrat insisted the cuts won’t happen as long as “reasonable people” figure out a solution. “It’s a Navy town,” he later told POLITICO. “I knew a question was coming up, so I didn’t wait for it.” 

The appetite in local newsrooms for that kind of story is widespread, local reporters say.

Not surprisingly, special interests have been more than willing to assist reporters in spreading the doom and gloom:

 

Of course, so much media coverage hasn’t just appeared out of nowhere. It’s standard journalism practice beyond the Beltway to turn the Washington story into a local one. But with sequestration, key interest groups have opened their own wallets to help tell the story. 


Tad DeHaven

Tad DeHaven is a budget analyst at the Cato Institute. Previously he was a deputy director of the Indiana Office of Management and Budget. DeHaven also worked as a budget policy advisor to Senators Jeff Sessions (R-AL) and Tom Coburn (R-OK).